Win or Lose

It’s super easy for a hundred different reasons to throw our confidence away. I hate that feeling. But it is JUST A FEELING. When my son wins his soccer game he feels great. But I want him to feel great when he doesn’t win as well. So, I rub his sweaty head and emphasis the good things that happened and then admit yes there could be improvement on some skills to but there is plenty of time for that.

If we go around letting lives ups and downs decide if we are worth something, or not we will always be trying to fix ourselves up so we feel good. Now there is an aspect of taking care of yourself that we can’t throw out here – get a hair cut you like, buy a new outfit so every now and then so you feel fresh, join a group of people who will support you in your growing and living. Healthy. Smart. Oh and exercise for your bones and heart and mental well being. It’s the quickest way to say, “I did that!” Accomplish things, learn new things…. yada yada… cheer others on and be apart of living and making a difference.

BUT do not let these things be who you ARE.

me… hard learned… me – still learning

What the Bible says about confidence is this – “Whatever I have now, it is all because God poured out His special favor on me – and not without results. For I have worked harder than any of the apostles; yet it was not I but God who was working through me by His grace.” That was Paul talking in 1 Corinthians 15 – and lets just say Paul would know better than me what he was talking about.

I remember 2 brothers who were Olympic level divers. They were really good. But something they said in an interview stopped me. They said that they weren’t counting on the prize to make them somebody – because they already had an identity and it was based in Christs love for them. OF COURSE THEY WANTED THE GOLD! Duh! They worked hard and yes awards are super and can help open doors for other things. (My husband may have helped me see this.)

It’s just knowing what your grounded in.

“Do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need not, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that He has promised.”

Hebrews 10:35-36
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We aren’t defeated just seated

Sometimes it’s hard to see the big picture. At least for me it is. When the kids break something I think well that’s that. We won’t get that again, where will the money come from? What’s the point? Or were never going to get things paid off so we can go on a trip.

But do you know what usually happens in reality? We get to replace the item. I wait awhile and we DO get to go on that trip.

Sometimes when I’m so discouraged I just remember the cross. I picture an alter with one above it in my mind. Then I know it’s going to be OK. Because Jesus rose from the grave. And left us with grace. And abundance of love and joy.

There is an enemy fighting against good – that is true. But the even better good truth is that there is Victory in Jesus.

God has complete knowledge of our lives. So we might as well talk to Him about our troubles. Or the things that are troubling to us- is that the same? Elizabeth George says, “Prayer helps you focus on others and not yourself, which usually improves relationships. Prayer brings contentment as you commune with God.” I agree Elizabeth, I agree. And fresh air, trees and pumpkins help with this too!

Did you ever see the movie “Fried Green Tomatoes?” I like to think of the character, that old lady… what was her name? I like to think about how happy she was and how she wanted to keep on telling her life story to anyone who would listen. I liked how she gave the younger lady hope and fun. Isn’t there a scene where they yell “Tawanada!!!!” or something. I hope I’m full of love and giggles at 35 and at 85 and all the years in between. So help me Jesus!!

“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.”

James 4:8

The smart Bible teachers and the actual Bible tells me that suffering and pain are grace. I’m learning to believe them. I’m trying! And then the sunshine comes… all storms have to end. (my Nana’s wise words) I’m still trying to believe Nana, still trying.

Time builds everything

I used to wonder what the secret sauce was some faithful people had. Were their lives easy? Did nothing really cut them? That must be what needed to happen. Keep all the bad away… like were Stepford People…

No, no that was impossible. Considering if I go deep here we all actually have bad in us. So what run away from ourselves? No, No. Not right again.

So, now I take a person who tells me their story in a book or on a stage at a conference, blog, sunday school room – tells me their real life story. I take their thoughts and I hear them. I hear that the secret sauce is faithfulness to read the Bible and prayer.

When normally kind people are cruel, its good to tell them ouch! That seriously hurt. I’ll get this quote jumbled but the point will get through to our ears, “Who are we to think that we will never be miss treated by the ones we love and love us.” Frances Chan and his wife wrote a book and they said that.

Our kids love movies and I love theater and good movies as well. We watched the Nutcracker and the 4 realms last night. Clara has to become seriously cunning and brave. It reminds us that cunning is definitely a good skill to have. It means wise, skillful and it is not ever a bad thing to be considered cunning. (Biblestudynotes.com)

Watch the movie. These dolls have gotten off their rockers because they don’t want to ever get hurt again. The sugar plum fairy is the worst! But Clara gets hurt a bunch! But she makes it because she has an unselfish goal in mind. She comes out with the key, sees what her mom had for her to see, and is able to forgive her good father who was just grieving and being temporally cruel because of his lack of knowing how to deal with his life at the moment. His wife had just freaking died. It was Christmas and he felt pressure from people to hold it together. Thank goodness Clara learns to love and forgive her daddy. He’s one of the good ones.

Patient

The Bible tells me to pursue peace with all people but of course that’s a hard command. Remember how I told you I get annoyed at the clerks that are slow… well that’s probably somewhere on the lower end of pursuing peace because I doubt that she knows I know Jesus. Ha!

I read a lot of fiction books and these characters have gone through REALLY yucky things and now they are adults and they either are dealing with their missing pieces or they are not. In Christian writing you get to see them come to Jesus and let Him carry them.

I had a pretty normal house growing up and I invited Jesus into my heart at a young age. I went to Sunday School and Youth Group and learned to talk to God and read His word and have a friendship with Him.

But life was still life, ya know. So, I love it when I see growth in my grown up girl life. Of course for awhile we ask why and get all high and mighty thinking we are doing life perfectly because a, b, c but that starts to wear you out the older you get. And it doesn’t help you find peace – or at least I don’t think so. Just thank you Jesus for being patient with us who believe you and still have a lot to see and learn and become.

Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.

Hebrews 12:14

Sometimes the things we have to talk about and over come were choices that we made ourselves feeling they were right at the time. Possibly we we knew it was wrong but felt like doing it anyway. We aren’t our mistakes, by the way.

Sometimes they are things others did to us and we had no control over it, or didn’t know how to stop or handle or even recognize. We are not responsible for these things. But we are responsible for ourselves to get the help that we need. See, sometimes we think it’s just big dog issues and the little issues like yelling at and not hearing our loved ones. Fear. Grief. We need to recognize all of these little or big issues are God calling us to Himself to find Love and Freedom. It’s OK to go slowly in the right direction.

Grace.

God saved you by His special favor when you believed. And you can not take credit for this; it is a gift from God…not by works so no one can boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9

I thought it pertinent to say that I am always trying different hair care products and today I think I may be being blessed with a nice concoction of them and my hair is laying nice and flat and smooth at the moment. Are you curious what I used? I’ll tell you. Kenra Curl Cream (which works for curly styles or round brush straightening with a blow dryer.) And then a smoother called 2Chic frizz be gone which smelled like a dream. I mean we have to work on the inside and keep the outside sort of lookin good to, right.

You Will Find It… just keep seeking

I watched Mary Poppins Returns last night with the kids and its such a well done movie. I highly recommend. I’ll admit I did a little on my phone and took a bath through a scene or two but I had seen it before so… anyway great movie. They lose their mother and they lose the deed or share paperwork to their inheritance which means the home they love and want to keep could be taken away.

That’s a lot for a heart to have to handle. They come together and don’t lose heart. Working to do all they can to keep the home. The song the Father teaches them, “The Place Where Lost Things Go” is so true. The whole perspective of the movie (I caught it this time, after seeing it twice and reading up on Walt Disney- his life was not so easy – but look at all the happy good he gives us – or at least in movies like this one – I can’t say I like everything but over all it makes us happy around here)

And even the heroine Mary Poppins is pressing them onward – come on lets keep things moving. And find out how much life waiting for us.

It’s all about how you choose to see things. And respond to things.

P.L. Traverse the author of the books – they made a movie about her finally giving over her beloved story to the Disney company. It’s hard to watch her but I get it she is hurting and she can’t see (like all of us) how letting go and letting help in is going to make things better. She had the whole Disney company trying to help her for crying out loud!

We have Someone so much better than Walt trying to comfort us and take our heaviness and it’s still so hard to let go. Until you just do it.

God has all of eternity to make up to us what we have lost here on earth. What we have suffered. He will comfort us forever in eternity. And I haven’t yet gone through something that sucked for the duration that didn’t some how later conform my heart or perfect it a little more like Jesus. And I probably need that.

“Don’t be mislead my dear brothers and sisters. Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting (I do not like shifty people so this is nice to know) shadow. He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all the creation, became His prize possession.”

James 1:16-18

Following Something

I guess my Mom put it in my mind to be a good, available, involved mother to any children I would have. I remember an article she gave me – it was from a magazine I think or a copy she had – remember when we found info in magazines? Then she also equipped me with an old laundry detergent box full of brochures on the things I would or could face as an adult. And I will confess that I sat in my kids closet reading them several different occasions to find hope and help. I think I sat on my own closet floor a time or two with her magazines guiding me to press on and build my family even though I wanted to cry and live with her forever. (Not really – but surely you have to get what a mean a little – building a real life of your own is blood sweat and tears – come on – and totally worth it – most days.) Anyway, this one article I just got stubborn and thought hey world your not going to tell me that my significance as a women is lost because I’m not out in the corporate world, I’m not teaching a classroom full of kids or styling hair while some one else takes care of the kids. Even though those things have some appeal to me.

“….If we are in Christ we are new creation.” 2 Corinthians 5:17

The Bible

We can choose what we do with our days. But we have to hone the listening thing. Listening to God. So my mom taught me to be available to my kids and I decided because of my personality or maybe stubbornness to go against the grain I don’t know or maybe because it works for us – to home school and that means a spend a tremendous amount of time at home teaching my off spring about math and science and English etc. I hope it pays off. I live on Grace just like you.

The point I’m trying to make is that we can’t find our significance in what we do.

Here is where you can put your claim on identity crisis – it works really well – In Christ. When we dwell with God we have something deeper, something whole. We have something beyond what we do at the moment. We can sink ourselves into this Christ – “Let thy goodness like a Shepherd bind my wandering heart to Thee.” Did I get those lyrics right? Well it’ll do for the purpose here. Lean into your Shepherd for care.

All that said, let’s make sure that we are committed to what we are currently doing but also listening to Him. Because sometimes he wants to juggle things around a bit. (I like routine but I like the joy and life of being in His will better.)

“Be inspired to grow. Be willing to change. Be encouraged to take bold steps in handling your problems or facing difficulties. Most of all become more knowledgeable of God’s character and His great love for you.”

Elizabeth George

I read a lot of fiction and something that I don’t like is when the characters find it easy to dialogue with each other early on in the book. It almost always happens in modern writing. One nice thing about Christian fiction (well some authors) is that they let the getting to know you part of the eventual romance form some. Like it’ll say he thought she looked really pretty but he doesn’t have a the next thought of bedding her. Or vice verses she isn’t just trying to prove she’s an animal that wants to mate with any good looking man that gives her notice. I guess it’s just culture shifts because Jane Austen never wrote like that.

My point in being annoyed with this is that I find it difficult to share my thoughts with the people closest to me. Or with anyone actually. I either have the extreme of this is the way I think and you better listen and agree (lovely I know) or I hold it in and wait for just the right opportunity when my mind thinks the person is ready to listen and then it still comes out demanding because slow, thoughtful request are hard to make when you feel long time jilted and set aside. (like a week can feel long )

Maybe this comes with maturity, which I claim I’ll always be able to improve on – and even want to. I mean I don’t want to be babysat – feelings matter oh yes they do but sheesh learning to realize that and then do some self analysis on where the feeling is coming from (exhaustion, hunger, kids, or maybe real offense that needs to be addressed) that takes time to learn. And we’ll always be learning.

I liked what I read the other day about wanting to be validated. Not solved. Sometimes I’m good at this – but then I’m not sometimes and I can’t put my finger on why except maybe being tired of validating others. Then there is the whole thing that people cant read our minds. But I hope it’s true that the more your around someone you start to notice there cues. That’s another thing that is frustrating in fiction – you can’t notice or pick up on peoples cues so quickly…. wait that is untrue – if you are studying them and asking questions being curious, caring then yes I bet you could. Hmmm….

I picked up a little devotional and wouldn’t you know God had it just ready for me. He’s like that you know. Perfectly studying us. But anyway He is God after all.

Romans 8:31 “If God is for us who can be against us?” Nice to know, huh?

Anyway the booklet was talking about security – being confident and it points out that the real truth behind confidence is that no one is ‘on their own confident’. It has to come from God – the confidence. It’s calm and secure and grounded. So, I started to look around and noticed that was true in people.

My Dad said last summer when we were at an arts festival in Denver that we clearly were not the cool ones. And he was joking of course because he isn’t concerned with cool – I had the moxy or the calmness or the blessedness of life learned something to say -“Dad no one is really cool”. (It’s a state of mind that we think we are….) And just a side note it isn’t at all what Jesus wants us to be…. If were honest it’s our security. ‘I have a group or I am the group and I don’t need rules.’ Or walls, we like our emotional walls too.

Hmmm curious why that still leaves me wanting.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve played the game. I’m learning to trust what God can supply for me. And I think it’s safe to say that He knows the games, He knows: the stuff were looking for

Psalm 8:3-5 “When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers – the moon and the stars you set in place – what are mere mortals that you should think about them, human beings that you should care for them? Yet you made them only a little lower than God and crowned them with glory and dignity.”

Ephesians 1:11 “In Him we were also chosen having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will.”

I was joking with my husband about what a dating website would say about me if they took my profile. My for real self… And his profile… His real self. There is a lot of funny,  a lot of weird, a lot of good in both of us.

It’s fun to be in a relationship. It’s infuriating to be in a relationship.

She sleeps a lot and he works a lot. How does anyone ever make a relationship work? We asked each other this. I don’t actually know how – but He does make it work. 

I think it’s taken us this past decade to appreciate this imperfect way of moving forward with love and patience.

Being an adult, taking responsibility for your feelings and actions, not stressing over others reactions takes time and intentionally.  God knew what each of us would need in a spouse. He didn’t make a mistake when He made either one of us. And drew our hearts together. I guess it’s our job to trust that.

 

 

 

 

Thank goodness that there is a Person to take it all to. And Jesus always, always gets it.

He holds our feelings and listens. There isn’t a feeling He isn’t ready for. There isn’t a question He won’t listen to and then eventually answer for us.

We think we are unique in our needs but we aren’t. They come to us each at different times but the need is always the same.

Just looks different sometimes.

He gives and gives. Listens and listens. Holds and holds.

The way you feel isn’t wrong – what you do because you feel a certain way can mess you up – so I highly recommend bringing that feeling honest and whole heart to the Cross.

 

 

I like the idea of broken things being restored.

I like wholeness.  It’s what we are made for.

I however do not love that idea that I am broken. But I know that I am. And knowing that is both freeing and complicated. How does one do this? This living and being broken…

I like the ideas of seeing things restored but I know that strides can be made on earth by people who walk with Jesus. I know that He is the way to wholeness. I know that one day in heaven we will be made complete.

I wish that day were today. Well, I mean wouldn’t it be neat-o? But what I can have today and you can have today is Him…. the perfect ones love can wash over us today.

…and that presses wholeness down on us. gives us the courage to work on our lives. grow and become more like we are intended to be – more like what God had in mind when He knit us together in our mothers womb. He had a plan then and He hasn’t ever forgotten that plan.

And it can shine through our broken flesh. Or i guess it’s coming from our hearts. the heart that God made. Yes, the light shines from our hearts, that God made.